Goodbye Speech

On June 17th, I had to make a speech during the End-Of-Year event that my school puts on. I almost started crying in the middle of it, (some adults and children actually did cry) and by the time I sat down I was sobbing.

Here it is.

Assalamu Alaikum, and Selamat Siang.


Many of you already know me. My name is Nesha Usmani, I taught Bahasa Inggris at M.I. Keji since January 2012.

Thank you so much for coming and watching your wonderful children perform. They have worked so hard and deserve all the praise they can get, MashAllah.

The things that impressed me the most about the children of M.I. Keji is their determination, their intelligence, and their sense of humor. Those are traits that only great teachers and a great environment can instill in a student, and I very much believe those are things that M.I. Keji provides.

 I live in a very different country, maybe not as beautiful and interesting as Indonesia, and certainly lacking the Islamic atmosphere that Indonesia has in abundance. I hope the children will learn to use the things they love about their country and their religion to become scholars and leaders, they have the capability; they just need a push.

 During my time in the classrooms, I found myself learning at the same time that I was teaching. My students taught me patience, the wisdom in laughter, they humbled me with honesty and their contentment, and even corrected my Bahasa Indonesia when it was wrong; and it was wrong a lot.

 They accepted me as a volunteer, but more importantly as their friend, and I find myself in tears often because I know I will have to say goodbye to them very soon, and I don’t want to.

How can I explain to my friends and family in America that many of the best friends I made in Indonesia were children? That’s easy. If you want to have a good conversation and be welcomed into a culture, speak to an adult. But if you want to witness the culture and personality of an entire country, spend time with its children.

 And that is why I can sum up Indonesia in one word. Amazing. That is why I know it is a place I will return to.

 M.I. Keji, your students are so special, which is why my friends and family wanted to give them a gift. During my time here, I enlisted my family and friends to raise money for M.I. Keji, to give it something both the teachers and the children needed. I actually had no clue what to do with it in the beginning, but Pak Supri had the idea of building an English learning laboratory, and I thought it was a great idea. So, we went ahead and built that.

We cleaned up the library, laid out new carpeting, new fans, new paint and new furniture. We hooked up an LCD projector to the ceiling so that it will be easier to introduce multimedia, such as films and CD-ROM activities, into the classroom. We got a new English curriculum, actually the first in M.I. Keji’s history, to make it more efficient, organized, and fun to teach and learn English, and also to make it a subject taken very seriously at the school.

We got 20 Inggris-Indonesia, Indonesia-Inggris dictionaries the children and teachers may use in the room. We got a new CD player for listening to songs, making it fun to learn English. English books were also donated by my friend Rochelle Ramos and her daughter Mariam, from America.

 We also will put up a big map, which is not ready yet, but will be soon. The map will have my picture on America, Marcello’s picture on Italy, and Maria’s picture on Switzerland, so that the volunteers will always be remembered for their contribution to M.I. Keji. This room will also make it easier and more fun for the next volunteer, inshAllah, to fulfill their duties, and, I hope, even excel beyond them.

 I hope inshAllah, that the students and teachers use this room to their advantage, make use of it everyday, learn everyday, inshAllah! And don’t forget me! And don’t forget Marcello and Maria, because volunteers are very scared of being forgotten.

We saved some money from the donations to help two of the smartest children M.I. Keji has. We would like to provide them with a full, 1 year’s scholarship, a new uniform, new shoes, and new school supplies.They are Muhammad Maulidani from Class 4  and Krisna from Class 5. 

 My hope for M.I. Keji and its students and teachers, is to never settle for anything less than excellence, because that is what you are in the first place: excellent.

 Thank you so much for accepting me as a part of your family, I will never forget Keji or its people, and I will, inshAllah, come back one day. I also want to thank Pak Supri, Bu Kom, Mbah Sunar, Atsna, and Asa for giving me a home while I was here. Your kindness and patience mean so much to me, and I hope to always keep in touch. I will always remember your generosity and I pray that Allah rewards you for it, Ameen.

 I don’t want to say goodbye, so I will say…

 Sampai Jumpa and Matur Nuwun.

 And thank you for everything. I’ll never forget you.


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